There’s no such thing, they say, as a free lunch.
If Georgia state Representative Jack Kingston has his way, that will be true for impoverished school children, too.
One in four children in the state is below the poverty line, but Kingston wonders why the state is working to fill these kids’ bellies instead of working to teach them accountability.
Kingston offers that perhaps the kids should be required to pay a small amount, five or ten cents, and amount he no doubt considers negligible, but that, for a family with little or no income, could add up to the dollar that means having ramen noodles the last day before payday or food stamps day, instead of going without. Kingston doesn’t seem familiar with the type of existence where every nickel, every penny, counts, and has to be pinched if the family is to survive.
He does have an alternative suggestion, though:
“Or maybe sweep the floor of the cafeteria—and yes, I understand that that would be an administrative problem, and I understand that it would probably lose you money. But think what we would gain as a society in getting people—getting the myth out of their head that there is such a thing as a free lunch.”
Yes, let’s give one-fourth of the schoolchildren in Georgia jobs, Mr. Kingston. Other than the amount of supervision it would require, the amount of class time it would take up, and the fact that it’s just generally ridiculous, what could be wrong with that?
Here’s a suggestion: let’s tell the schoolkids of Georgia, all of them, not just the poor ones, in fact, all schoolkids, that their ‘job’ is their schoolwork. Their job is learning.
After all, an education will probably do far more to bring a child out of poverty than sweeping a cafeteria floor will.